Point of Interest

Pier Head

Ascension Island / Africa

The Pier Head was built in 1820, soon after the occupation of the island. It was formed by concrete over existing land, is a mere 30 feet wide and juts out from the shore. There was a watch house, which was swept away by the rollers in 1839 and the pier itself was nearly destroyed in 1856. The steam crane and tramway were fitted by 1862. A railway ran to the main store and the turtle ponds to enable ships to unload coal from the UK and load turtle meat and sea bird eggs, with the minimum of effort. It is still the landing point for all sea visitors, but today’s cruise ships generally find it too rough to disembark their passengers. It is also where the island’s fishing boats are unloaded.Nearby stands the impressive AIG Stores Building once described as “the largest structure in the Southern Hemisphere.” It was completed between 1848 and 1852, and combines basalt stone, timber and cast iron. It was originally Main Stores, with three interior areas. Coal from the UK, turtle meat and sea bird eggs were stored there. It now houses the works department for the Island.

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